Books & Literature

Book Review: Edie’s Experiments 1: How to Make Friends, by Charlotte Barkla

MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION: A new school, a classroom full of potential new friends and a science kit. What could possibly go wrong?

A fun story full of crazy experiments that keep going wrong!

Ten-year-old Edie has moved to the other side of the city with her mum, dad and two-year-old brother Max. She has had to leave behind her friends, particularly her best friend Winnie, who loves science as much as Edie does. In fact, she sees herself as a scientist in the making.

Starting at a new school and making new friends is always hard, but Edie is determined to fit in. She loves to plan and experiment, so she sets about trying to win over the children in her class. Unfortunately, a failed slime experiment wreaks havoc on the classroom. To make it up to the class, she hopes a batch of chocolate chip cookies will do the trick, but things go from bad to worse.

Edie is a very loveable character with a kind heart. Unfortunately, her kind heart keeps getting her in trouble. For Edie, life is one big experiment. She is always thinking of ways to help others and make their life better, and is devastated when her good intentions go awry.

Edie is also very clever and super organised. She draws up a plan for everything she does, which includes the aims, equipment and method. These are dotted throughout the book, as well as various lists she creates to remind her of future ideas. Sandy Flett is an illustrator who loves to create cartoons and kooky characters, and this is very evident in this book. Her illustrations are fun and detailed. They don’t just reflect the text, they add to the story.

There are lots of very funny moments in Edie’s Experiments, and Barkla’s sense of humour is sure to keep an adult amused as well.

Edie’s never-give-up attitude is such a large part of her character that I found her endearing and even though so many things go wrong, she is a lovely role model.

Charlotte Barkla, an Adelaide based author, has used her previous jobs as a civil engineer and physics teacher to help write a fun story with heart. This is a lovely book for middle years children with a second story coming out soon.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: February 2020
RRP: $14.99

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